Dance Reaction/Analysis Paper

Dance Reaction/Analysis Paper



Assignment: Write a 3 page dance analysis/reaction paper. The paper should be typed, and double space, with 1 inch margins, Times New Roman font. This is a formal writing assignment and will be graded on the critical content as well as the clarity of your writing. You must include the title, location and date of the performance you are attending in your first paragraph as well as a thesis statement encapsulating what you think the performance was about. What concepts/ideas/themes were central to the piece? i.e. Your thesis statement must state what you understood as the choreographic concept.

In this paper you are analyzing/reacting to a performance and responding to what you understood as the choreographic concept.  Any reaction you have is valid; it is also important to remember there are no right or wrong answers. Equally important, this is NOT a paper describing whether you liked or disliked the dance performance or whether the performance was good or bad.

Instead, this is an opportunity for you to think deeply about the piece and analyze the dance on its own terms. It is important to incorporate clear specific examples from the performance and analyze the movement to support the meaning you took away from the performance. You should take into consideration your understanding off the choreographer’s concept, the structure of the dance, the quality of the movement, and any other theatrical elements that were important to the performance (lighting, sound, costumes, sets).

-Some tips:

  • Avoid general statementsà “It was beautiful”
  • Avoid always placing a narrative/storyline on the dance and then only analyzing the storyline you’ve created.
  • You will need to use thick description of specific examples in your analysis. *Thick description is absolutely essential, but you also need to analyze the movement and theatrical elements.  








Here are some ideas for paper content. *Should not be used for structuring or developing your paper.

Choreography (Analysis of the structure/dance elements of the piece)

  • Describe the overall movement aesthetic. How were the dancers moving? What seemed to be important aspects of the aesthetic? (I.e. was the movement grounded, polyrhythmic, non-virtuosic?)
  • What was the quality of movement like in the dance in terms of dance elements? (Rhythm speed, force/dynamics, focus) What was the physical structure of the dance (geometric, asymmetrical, orderly, chaotic). What did the movement express?
  • What kinds of variations, contrasts, spatial patterns, etc…were used in the piece?
  • Was there a specific story or was it more abstract? Did the dance deal with social issues, historic issues? Did it evoke a particular mood or atmosphere? What kind of world has the choreographer created?
  • What were the relationships between performers, physically and dramatically? What was the quality of the contact? Were they aware of one another? Where were the dancers focus (outward directed towards the audience? Inwards? )

Other Theatrical Elements

  • How did the lighting, sets, costumes, music, sound, video or other elements contribute to or detract from the overall performance? What do you think its function in the dance was? Did it help set the mood or convey a sense of the whole style and structure of the performance? How did the music work with the movement? Did the music contrast or support the overall mood? Etc…



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